Stepping stones lead to fitness, health

By Jacqueline Jordan 2009

With warmer weather, the excuses for avoiding a healthy lifestyle are fading each day, and, according to CFHS fitness fans, success isn’t rocket science.

Assistant principal Troy Becker is also the head coach for girls track and field and the boys cross country team. To get back into the fitness groove, he suggested, “This depends on how out of shape they are and how overweight they are.  In general, I recommend that they start easy and build up to where they want to go.  That way they don’t end up getting too discouraged.  And, they need to decide what type of exercise they want to do.  And most important, they need to have a set time in the day that they exercise.  It needs to be treated like a job that absolutely can’t be missed.”

Knowing that having a well-balanced diet is also important in order to lose weight, exercising is usually forgotten in the midst. There are so many diets out there that guarantee weight loss, but one misconception is focusing more on having a healthy diet than exercising regularly.

“I like people and athletes to think about exercising other than just eating right. Eating the basics like fruits and veggies. In other words, just a well-rounded diet is important. Athletes who do endurance events longer than one hour should think about more carbs, but, for most of us, it is just a matter of having a well-balanced diet without a bunch of junk,” Becker said.

On an athlete’s point of view, sophomore Cassie Crotty said, “I try to eat everything in moderation, but I try to get some kind of protein every meal, so I don’t get to the point where I eat more than I need to.”

She also points out that drinking pop is bad for anyone. “I believe that pop is one of the worst things that anyone can drink — even if you’re not an athlete,” Crotty said.

Another thing Crotty said is “eating heavy at night” can be another problem people have trying to lose weight, because people aren’t usually active late at night.

Exercising is the key factor to losing weight Becker said. “All the research I’ve seen recommends at least 20 minutes of cardio at least three times a week. That’s the minimum.

Obviously, if you want to be in the best shape, you need to commit at least five to six days a week with different types of workouts represented to target what event you’re going for. An example would be a runner needing at least one long run each week and some intervals to go with their normal running.”

Some runners like Crotty triy to stay in shape by cross training in sports such as cross country in the summer and basketball in the winter for when track season starts up in the spring.

According to Becker, another thing that people have misunderstood to get back in shape is calorie intake. It’s good to eat the right things, but constantly counting calories and not eating small snacks throughout the day will not help lose weight any faster.

“Being obsessed about counting calories is the biggest problem I see. If you simply eat proper portions of food and exercise, your body will go to its most natural state of health,” Becker said.

He also said, “If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you put in your body. To lose weight properly in a way that it will stay off, you should do this slowly over time. Once you get close to your ideal weight, you can simply focus on a well-balanced diet and let exercise help your body go to where it is most natural for it to be.”

Another thing people try to do is stay away from unhealthy foods altogether for specific reasons.

Some foods that Becker tries to stay away from are, “candy, chips, cakes and any drinks that have high fructose corn syrup in them.”

Ingredients like high fructose corn syrup are hard to stay away from or spot most of the time because they are in most food and drinks that people consume on a regular basis.
Things like pop most likely have this ingredient in them, but things like cereal bars and chips are not so apparent.

Popular food items like granola bars, cereal, chips, muffins and pop tarts may seem harmless, but when looking at the ingredients, high fructose corn syrup usually is one of them.

But, that doesn’t mean that one has to be driven away from food items such as granola bars altogether. There are healthy substitutes like searching for granola bars that are organic and making sure to look for other empty calories.

“Eating right and working out go hand in hand. If you don’t eat right, workouts are harder,” Crotty said.

She also added, “I don’t eat many sweets or eat things like potato chips or drink pop. The only thing that tends to be my weakness most times is chocolate. Eating chocolate in moderation is what I focus more on than not eating it at all.”
So cutting out unhealthy food altogether isn’t necessary, but focusing more on how much unhealthy food one eats and maintaining a consistent exercise routine is key to losing the weight one wants to lose to get back to being healthy and fit.

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